Paige’s Week Without Social Media: My Mental Health is Deteriorating

Entertainment Editor, Paige, and her views on our week without social media

Paige Maki, Entertainment Editor

Going into the week of quitting social media, I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to make it the whole week. In years prior, I had challenged myself multiple times to quit social media, and I failed every time. I’m proud to report that this time I stuck it out, and it allowed me to reevaluate my use of social media and its role in my mental health. 

The first day of quitting social media felt very strange. Usually, every morning, when I wake up, the first thing I do is check social media. So, on the first day, I reached for my phone in the morning and just held it not really knowing what to do. In hindsight, it was nice to not immediately look at social media; it allowed me to ease into my day, but at the time it was really difficult to break my habit. 

This was Paige’s screen time report from the week before the challenge. (Paige Maki)

The entire first day I was trying to get used to not using social media. I kept reaching for my phone but once I opened it I just stared at the home screen, opened random apps, and instead of scrolling through social media, I scrolled through my emails. My phone somewhat felt useless to me.

The second, third, and fourth days weren’t very hard for me. I had gotten used to not using social media and hadn’t experienced any negative effects of quitting social media yet. It was interesting, however, because I usually feel the need to be doing something at all times, but after quitting social media, I found myself spending time looking out the window or just sitting and thinking. It was refreshing to take time off of my phone, sit in silence, and just think without any distraction.

This was Paige’s screen time report from the week of the challenge. (Paige Maki)

One of the most valuable lessons I learned from this week was to take time to truly relax, and spend time away from the screens. 

Things started to get harder the fifth day without social media; October has been a very stressful month for me because of college applications, school, the election, and underlying stress about coronavirus and North’s new hybrid schedule. 

In the past, I have leaned on social media to help me manage my stress. Social media provides me a lot of comedic relief and serves as a fun pastime that relieves my stress. I missed the simple joy of sending funny Instagram posts to my friends and family and discussing pop-culture news. 

Without social media and the escape it provided me, my stress got gradually worse throughout the week.

When it came to the news and staying politically aware during the week I quit social media, I struggled a lot. I struggled to cope with my stress from the news and the upcoming election more than usual. 

Often, after reading the news, I turn to social media and see my peers tweeting, making jokes, and spreading awareness which eases my stress and helps me to not feel as isolated. Without social media, all my stress and worries were heightened. 

I have come to recognize that while social media has negatives, for me, the positives outweigh the negatives. I have had social media since seventh grade, and since then, it has become a part of me and the way I communicate. 

I enjoyed the experience of giving up social media and the lessons it has taught me, and I want to continue limiting the amount of time I spend on social media per day. However, I don’t see myself quitting social media again anytime soon.